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Decision To Leave Independent Alliance Not An Easy One

I have this evening (18th May) announced that I am leaving the Independent Alliance. The only member of the grouping not to support Enda Kenny’s nomination for Taoiseach his future in the group has been under consideration since the new government has been formed.

I have given my future as a member of the Independent Alliance serious consideration over the last number of weeks and have had no choice but to leave the grouping. As a member of the grouping, being the only member in opposition, I would not be allowed to have leaders questions or priority questions and access to speaking time would be very limited. I feel I would not be able to adequately represent my constituents in Dail Eireann under these restrictions, and that is why I have decided to leave the Independent Alliance.

Having worked to help formulate the programme for government I intend to support the government on votes which I feel will benefit society at large and oppose them on votes which I feel are not in the interests of the people. New rules on how the Dail will operate will be published tomorrow and will detail how speaking time etc. will be allocated. I will endeavour over the coming days to join a technical group in order to get adequate speaking time in the Dail in order to speak out for the people who elected me and give them a voice.

I hope that by working with people inside and outside of government I can continue to make a constructive contribution to Dail business and deliver for my region. It has become very clear to me in recent days, considering the criticism directed at some government TD’s for expressing their opinions, that until the issues surrounding turf cutting are resolved and ordinary people are no longer criminalized for exercising their rights, that I could not be member of any government. To this end, I hope these matters can continue to be worked on and resolved for the betterment of all involved. I wish my colleagues in the Independent Alliance all the best and hope that we can reach across the aisle in the future in order work together to do good for the country.

I look forward to working constructively as a member of the Oireachtas for duration of the 32nd Dail and to continuing to make contributions as I did in the previous Dail. I hope that the new political reality will ensure that all sides of the house work together to reach consensus on matters and that good, common sense legislation is formulated and passed to make this country a better place for generations to come.